Taking a day off while traveling

Morning in Edinburgh, Scotland
Morning peeking through the curtains.

I’m a voracious traveller, I consume everything around me. That means that sometimes, after having explored every inch of a place or having packed my days full of trips and activities, I get full. So full that I need to stop and just take a break from my travels.

I think it’s important to leave some breathing room in your itinerary. Travel shouldn’t be a checklist you’re trying to get through. When you’re on the go in a new city, your senses are dialed up to the max and everything is a new experience. It’s generally a great feeling — being in awe of something or surprised by the unexpected — but too much of a good thing can be draining.

There have been days, when I’m travelling, where all I’ve wanted to do is lounge around in bed. And initially, I always feel a bit guilty for that impulse. Here I am, in a foreign country with so much to explore, and I’m thinking about how soft the bed is? It happens.

Sometimes there’s a perfectly valid reason for it (like the time I got sick in Edinburgh after getting caught out in the rain, and spend half a day dozing on the floor mattress of my friend’s living room). But then there are days when you just don’t know what to do with yourself. Those days don’t have to be a waste.

A break from travel isn’t necessarily a full stop, it’s more like a change of pace. Maybe that means waking up late and going for a leisurely brunch at the first café that catches your eye or cooking something yourself with ingredients bought at the local market.

Instead of scheduling your day around the opening hours of big attractions or museums, maybe you can go for a stroll through the city without any set destination. City parks are a great place to people watch and get a real sense of local rhythm. If you’re like me, you might take the day to do a bit of journaling, paint a watercolour postcard, or read about the history of the place you’re visiting.

Taking a breather let’s you recover your zest for travel and exploration. You can collect your thoughts and center yourself, approach your travels from a different angle. Sometimes, a break from constant movement lets you absorb what you’re seeing better. I don’t think having a lazy day off during your travels is a failure to enjoy your trip  — it’s almost a necessity.

Hotel room
Sometimes you just really want to stay in bed when travelling.

New and old readers alike, welcome to my new travel blog — I hope you enjoy Magpie Tales! 🙂

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